How the Government Shutdown Will Affect Veterans’ GI Bill Benefits and Flight Training Is A Big Concern of Those That Served. Here’s some Questions and Answers
Veterans across the country are concerned about how the government shutdown will affect their GI Bill benefits. And, for those in flight training programs the other question looms: How will this affect the FAA and flying as well?
First, let’s address Veterans’ benefits as that’s the big concern here. VA Healthcare is covered during the shutdown thanks to the foresight and hard work of the IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America). “Advance funding for VA health care was the centerpiece of IAVA’s Storm the Hill efforts in 2009, and the current shutdown debate shows how critical our efforts were. That is why IAVA supports the Congressional bill HR. 813 / S. 932 to extend advanced funding to the whole VA and avoid any problems with health care and benefits in the future.” – Source: “Government Shutdown FAQ for Veterans”, by Tom Tarantino, Chief Policy Officer, IAVA, Huffington Post Article. This means if you need to use the VA Healthcare system or have a doctor’s appointment, you should be okay. The VA hospitals should be working normally.
VA disability payments, pension payments, and GI Bill benefit checks are protected during a shutdown and therefore should not be affected by the government shutdown. HOWEVER, the VA has stated that if the government shutdown lasts beyond 2-3 weeks, the VA may not have sufficient cash to make payments. That means November payments may be affected.
If you have filed a claim prior to the government shutdown, your claim will still be processed as VA employees are also protected during the shutdown. Keep in mind that it is possible that some of the resources that the VA uses to process your forms may be affected by the shutdown, so your claim may be delayed.
If you were just about to file a claim, do so anyway to protect your effective date. “To reduce any confusion or to ensure that the VA doesn’t lose anything during the uncertainty of the shutdown, we recommend that you file your claim through a National Service Officer from the Disabled American Veterans. They can help guide you through the process and ensure that the VA is on top of it. You can locate a local service officer here.“ - Source: “Government Shutdown FAQ for Veterans”, by Tom Tarantino, Chief Policy Officer, IAVA, Huffington Post Article.
Since the VA will not be processing new claims during the shutdown, this means new GI Bill benefit claims will be delayed if the government shutdown continues for a couple of weeks or more. So, if you’re applying to attend a school next semester utilizing your GI Bill benefits, you may experience some delays in the processing and receiving of your benefits should the shutdown continue beyond a couple of weeks.
If you are currently serving in the U.S. or overseas, you’ll still be getting paid and combat operations will continue as normal.
How The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Flight Operations Will Be Affected
Your flight training operations will not be affected by the government shutdown as essential FAA personnel, including Air Traffic Control (ATC), are not affected by the shutdown. However, it is reported that the FAA has announced the furloughing of up to 3,000 air safety inspectors. “The job of the inspectors is to ensure that airlines are keeping up with planes’ mechanical upgrades; to perform inspections on the planes and pilots; and to visit the sites that airlines use to repair aircraft, both domestically and overseas, said Kori Blalock Keller, a spokeswoman for the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union, in the Daily Mail.” Source: The Washington Times, Author Cheryl K. Chumley, “FAA furloughs 3,000 air safety inspectors as shutdown kicks in”. Again, this only affects commercial aviation, so your flight training will not be affected.
Share Your Concerns
As a U.S. Military Veteran, you’ve earned it. Contact your Congressman / Congresswoman and share with them your concerns and challenges should the shutdown continue. For a directory of Representatives, see: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
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